Italy attacks 'anti-Semitic' summit

Italy withdraws from UN racism summit over references to the Israeli occupation.

    Italy's foreign minister has decided to withdraw his country's delegation from the summit [EPA]

    US warning

    The New York-based World Jewish Congress (WJC) said Italy had taken a "principled decision".

    Ronald Lauder, president of the WJC, said: "Italy has given a strong signal, which should be a rallying call for other European Union countries."

    Critics of the conference also object to sections of the final declaration which they say would limit freedom of religion or speech.

    Majority Muslim countries, where residents are angry over cartoons and films attacking Muslims, have been campaigning for wording that would equate criticism of a religious faith with a violation of human rights.

    The April 20-25 meeting is designed to review progress in fighting racism since the inaugural summit on racism in South Africa in 2001.

    Israel was attacked during that meeting and anti-Israel demonstrations were held at a parallel conference of non-governmental organisations.

    The US and Israel walked out over a draft resolution that criticised Israel and likened Zionism, the movement to establish and maintain a Jewish state, to racism.

    Last week, the administration of Barack Obama, the US president, said Washington would stay away from this year's meeting unless its final document is changed to drop all references to Israel and the defamation of religion.

    SOURCE: Agencies


     How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    Ninety-nine years since Balfour's "promise", Palestinians insist that their rights in Palestine cannot be dismissed.

    Afghan asylum seekers resort to sex work in Athens

    Afghan asylum seekers resort to sex work in Athens

    In the rundown Pedion Areos Park, older men walk slowly by young asylum seekers before agreeing on a price for sex.

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    The story of a most-wanted fugitive and billionaire.